“Do the Salkantay Trek instead,” they said. “It’s much less crowded than the Inca Trail,” they said. “The Inca Trail was completely booked, so we did the Salkantay Trek instead, and we’re so glad we did,” they said.
Perhaps those excuses were valid long ago, but not anymore. Before arriving to Cusco, we met more travelers who said they were hiking Salkantay instead of the classic 45-km Inca Trail. While hiking the Inca Trail I even asked my guide, who leads both the Inca and Salkantay Trails, which trail was more crowded? He didn’t hesitate to say they were the same. However, We had the entire Inca Trail and most of the ruins…all to ourselves!
We went with Inca Trail Machu, the smaller company we ended up going with, claims to promote responsible tourism as well. Whether or not their claims are true, the main three differences I saw between Inca Trail Machu and the other three major companies (Llama Path, Tierras Vivas, and G Adventures)
Equipment Sleeping bags were included in our price. When we unraveled our sleeping bags at our first campsite, we were surprised to find North Face sleeping bags rated to -15ºC. Score! Although other companies charge more, they don’t actually include sleeping bags as part of their package. Granted, we had to carry our own sleeping bag and personal necessities but we didn’t mind because once again, this was camping! (After having done El Misti less than a week earlier, we felt pampered on the Inca Trail.
Machu Picchu experience couldn't have been better, small groups allowing you to walk at your own pace, knowledgable guides, incredible food and organisation by the porters.
Even sleeping in the tents was comfortable plus what's better than being woken up with a mug of warm coca tea!
We left Machu Picchu feeling like we'd missed nothing. Cheaper than other official inca trails but this reflects in no way upon the quality of the tour. Would highly recommend Tierras Vivas.
Equipment Tents comfortable and good camping spots. The company provided the camping equipment, thermarest mattress, sleeping bag.
I did my Machu Picchu hike with GAP adventures. They provided accommodation in Cuzco, transport to the start of the hike, English speaking guide, porters, meals on hike, tent accommodation on the trail, train ticket back to Cuzco. I paid about 600 USD for this.
I found everything professionally run. Our group was smaller than many of the other groups I saw that started the hike the same day as us (for me this was a benefit).
Equipment The company provided all the necessary equipment but we needed to pack appropriate clothing and footwear, sleeping bag (although they could provide this also).
Dead Woman's Pass was the highest peak of the trail. You reach it (4200m 13776ft) after a 3 hours climbing on good tracks and stone steps, in the 2nd day.
It was freezing up there when I climbed and it was foggy, so I couldn't really stay there and enjoy the landscape, but it was really nice...
Small steps, big steps, never-ending steps... You will enjoy climbing the Huayna Picchu !
Petites ou grandes marches, des marches qui n'en finissent jamais... Vous allez vous eclater a monter le Huayna Picchu !
Equipment A pair of good shoes...
Des bonnes chaussures...
Backpacking is a great sport. You get to commune with nature, test yourself against the elements, and expend great amounts of energy to get from one oasis to another. The best part is when it's over, the sense of accomplishment that always comes with reaching your goal. It always brings a smile to my face.
Equipment Backpack is essential and get a decent one as you will have it on your back for 8 hours a day. Good waterproofs can't be overestimated. You can't stay warm, unless you stay dry. Bring warms clothes even if it's hot when you start. Hat is THE most important thing here. One to keep the sun off your head and another to keep the heat in. Good boots and socks or your feet will pay for what you were too cheap to buy.
The wind could be very strong, take care of yourself, do not be the first person on earth to let the strong wind blow you away here in machu Picchu.